MELBOURNE: Australia will offer a total A$40 million ($26 million) in grants to international companies for investing in the country's critical minerals processing industry, its resources minister Madeleine King said on Wednesday.

The resources-rich nation is seeking investment from allies in the supply chain of minerals essential to the energy transition that are at risk of production or supply disruption.

The grants of a minimum A$2 million and a maximum A$20 million would be open to Australia's global partners such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, the European Union and its member states, King said.

"Secure supply chains for our critical minerals are essential if we want to build the windfarms, solar panels and batteries we need to reach net zero," King said in a statement.

"These supply chains will also be essential in working with our allies and friends in developing technology needed by (the) defence industry."

Grants can be used for pilot and demonstration plants, capacity expansions, research and development activities, development or commercialisation of technology and intellectual property, critical minerals processing technologies, and development of downstream processing capabilities.

($1 = 1.5492 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Sonali Paul)